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Baker's Dozen

Champion Versions: Steve Mason's Favourite Albums
Joe Clay , March 2nd, 2016 11:04

With his new solo album, Meet The Humans, just released, the prolific musician and former Beta Band man gives Joe Clay a tour of his record collection, meandering through electro, hip-hop, punk and more


Happy Mondays – Squirrel and G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out)
If you think about what came after this album was released – that sound that developed – the Mondays were so ahead of the game. If you compare it to the records that were being made in 1987... I mean, there was a lot of good stuff coming out of Manchester, but this was really different. The songs are great, the lyrics are brilliant and this was before the drugs laid waste to the talent. It's all there. The band are fantastic and the production is just perfect. It's got that Manchester/Factory sound but it's not overdone. John Cale was really good on the production there, he just let the band be the band. I don't really know the story of that album or how it was recorded – if they just turned up with the songs complete or if Cale had to arrange them or whatever. I don't know, but it's a brilliant album full of fantastic avant-garde pop songs. I absolutely love it - 'Oasis' specifically. That song is fucking great.

They weren't proper musicians, in that they didn't really know how to play their instruments or what chords they were playing. So they were just putting stuff together that sounded great. Scratching about and seeing what happened.

There's a lot to be said for not being able to play. You're not constrained. That's why I never really bothered to learn. I can't play anybody else's songs at all. Sometimes I go round to people's houses when they're having a party. I'm a good friend of Bruce Brand who was in The Milkshakes and all those bands, and if you name a fucking song, he can play it, straight off the bat, on the guitar. I can't do that and I'm so in awe of people who can, but I've never wanted to push too far in to being able to play an instrument. I like the naivety. Once you know the rules you're kinda screwed and suddenly there's boundaries and all those horrible things that nobody really wants.